Saturday, July 21, 2012

foster care, love, and the presence of God

Hang on, people, because the roller coaster that is my life just took a turn.

God is funny like that.  He gives you peace in a situation that you have resolved you can't wrap your mind around and then he reminds you once again that he is in control so don't go drawing conclusions prematurely.

Let me back up.  I wrote this post on Wednesday and then Thursday I got a text from a local friend who was looking to get her hair cut and needed some moral support.  I think she even used those words.  I need you.  The kids and I were just wrapping up school so at 10:45am I packed their lunch and left them with my friend's two older children so W and I could have a few hours for girl time.  I am not that spontaneous, people.  The kids were thrilled to go though and had a good time while we got our hair cut and went out to lunch.

W and I made it to the salon after trying two others with no success.  She tracked down this girl who had changed locations and was able to get us both in (I decided to get mine cut too.).  I'm not sure how much support I was able to give my friend, but her haircut turned out great so I hopped in the chair after her.  R and I started chatting.  She asked how I knew my friend and I asked if she was originally from this state.  That is when God showed up.  

R went on to share that she GREW UP IN FOSTER CARE IN OUR COUNTY.  She was sexually abused by her alcoholic father and her mother chose to stay with him.  R was the only child removed from the home as they assumed her brothers were safe.  She ended up living with her grandma until age 7 when she died and R went into foster care.  She said she lived in a different home every year and was never adopted.  Our conversation was supernatural.  She kept talking and cutting and cutting and talking and I was a little afraid I was going to come out of the chair with a pixie cut but all was well.

I asked her what advice she would give to foster parents who wanted to do the best for the children placed with them.  "Just love them," she said.  "So many families acted like since they were happy I should just be happy but I wasn't."  She told me about one older couple who had been like loving parents to her, but when the wife died when R was 15 and they didn't think the husband (who was a disabled vet) could care for her and the other foster teens in the home, she had to leave.  R was emancipated from the state at 17 when she got her cosmetology license and has been on her own since.  She did go back to that man's house when she wound up pregnant and alone at 20 (she gave the baby up for adoption) and he took her in as his own during that chapter of her life.  There were three other former foster kids living there also.  She felt love and acceptance from this man.  "Sometimes I just needed to be sad and he gave me the freedom to do that.  We just buried him a week and a half ago."  Chills ran through my body and my face fought back tears.  "There were 31 former foster kids (who many are like family to her) at his funeral.  He made a big impact in so many people's lives and most of us went on to make something good of ourselves.  I wish he could be here to give you advice."  It chokes me up to think about that divine spontaneous appointment.  I drove away being reminded that God is ultimately in control of my life and can act when and how he wants.

I went to my women's Bible study that evening.  I walked in and sat down in the front row of the room a chair away from another girl in my small group.  "I thought of you this week," she said.  "My friend was trained to be foster parents in our county about a year and a half ago and they never got a call in all that time.  They were discouraged and confused as they clearly felt God calling them into this service for him.  Well over the July 4th weekend they got that call and they welcomed a sibling set of three of the sweetest kids who were placed in foster care for the first time.  They expect it to be for six months."  Of course there was more to the conversation but I was once again floored by God's involvement in my little life.  I told N about God's recent revelation to me (shared in the previous post) and then what had happened at the salon and now her conversation with me there.  We sat in awe at how God was moving in my life.

So we wait.  Not for some desired or expected result but trusting that he is in control and that he doesn't want us to give up on his perfect and complete plan to use our lives.

Pray for us.

Then the Bible study started where one of the two leaders gives a lesson before we break off into smaller groups.  I kept smiling as I took bullet points down an a sticky note found in the bottom of my purse.  1 Corinthians 13 was preached about on Sunday morning as we visited our old church.  Verse 13, "And these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."  And there it was being shared again as she too focused on the whole chapter.  She spent time on verse 8, "Love never fails." Meanwhile the speaker's husband was in the sanctuary behind us doing worship practice to this song and then this song unbeknownst to her I'm sure.  You couldn't have planned those moments better.  God is awesome.  The rest of her talk included John 15, the vine and the branches, abiding in Christ, how plants work, how fruit grows, and of course the fruit of the Spirit (which Brother has been singing around here for months).  She polished it all off with a bit of Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."  (which is also a line in one of the above worship songs) Yes, Lord.  I hear your broad repetitions in my life.

Now you might be thinking, what does all this talk of love and vines and abiding and fruit have to do with foster care?  Well it doesn't really.  All it speaks to me is that God is present in my life.  He repeats himself.  He is alive and he wants me to know even when I have no idea where this life is going, he is leading me.  So there.

I used some birthday money sent by my grandma to buy this wall hanging to put in my green dining room.  I had been looking for a little something to remind me to BE loving (yes I need to be reminded) and there it was while I was shopping for a friend.  I went back and bought it for myself today (with a 30% off coupon).  Happy Birthday to me.  Thanks Grandma (who doesn't read this blog)!

So yes, I realize this post is all over the place but sometimes the presence of God makes me feel that way.  It is a friendship like I have never had and I am so thankful that he loves me and tells me so often. 


Clara Jane said...

Love! So glad God showed up in tangible ways so that you could feel he was still walking with you on the road. The wait if HARD, friend. Always, hard. "I will serve you while I'm waiting" played over in my head time and again. And, he has loved us. That verse also repeats constantly in my head. Sometimes, it can be that simple. Praying for you always!

Persicke Family said...

I love this- it is incredibly encouraging to me. Thank you for writing. God is so so so good- ALL the time!

Chanel said...

It's a beautiful thing ;) when so many threads from all sorts of directions come together, intertwining to show His perfect love and presence!! Thank you for sharing the goings on of your week. Love you!